Published on February 19th, 2013 | by Rayne35
Radical feminism is a danger to women
I’ve met some hypocrites in my time. We all know how I feel about hypocrites, especially those within the queer community and those who claim moral superiority over others. Women who call themselves prolife and advocate to make abortion illegal while at the same time get abortions themselves annoy me. But by far the most infuriating, ignorant, hypocritical community I have ever come across is the radical feminist community.
Side note: I wonder how many people will assume I’m a man from this post? Gay cisgendered women can get sick of your shit to you know.
For those of you who don’t know what a radical feminist (henceforth know as “radfem”) is or how the radfem ideology is different to feminism stick around for my crash course in radfem hypocrisy 101.
Radfem ideology as stated by radfem authours such as Andrea Dworkin,Phyllis Chesler,Monique Wittig, Mary Daly, Jill Johnstonand Robin Morgan believe that the patriarchy is an end in itself rather than a secondary aspect of some larger system. In other words, the patriarchy is the problem and cause of all oppression of women rather than being a symptom of the larger problem that has resulted in the oppression of women. The patriarchy in radfem ideology equates to men. All men. Rather then the patriarchy being a system of privilege that favours men, that was created by society and is policed and governed by men and women. Radfem ideology is closely linked to that of Lesbian Separatism and Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism.
The patriarchy in itself is not men, it favours men and oppresses women, it is governed and policed heavily by men and women but it is not men. It is a system. A social structure. One that is as harmful to the men policing it as it is to the women who are oppressed by it because the patriarchal system in which we live both oppresses men and women. I’ve blogged about this before. The patriarchy itself is like a disease and the policing and governing by men and women are its symptoms. The things that you see that can help you pinpoint exactly what disease it is. In order to treat a disease, we also need to treat its symptoms and we treat the symptoms of the patriarchy by educating the men and women who police and oppress us as to why the patriarchy is damaging, how it is damaging and give an alternate solution, one that is not damaging.
Radfems obviously don’t see this because they are so blinded by their hatred for men that it has affected their brains and lowered their IQ’s to the point where they have spontaneously acquired a brain defect.
As a lesbian feminist (note: NOT radfem) myself, I am continually horrified by the hypocrisy within the separatist movement. Not just regarding the radfem ideology that men are the crux of all social issues and therefore should be oppressed and according to some executed but also from a queer equality perspective. How exactly do radfems think we are going to be able to get equality for queers and women when they are advocating the very thing we are fighting against? The oppression of men, women and transfolk. It boogles the mind.
Radfem ideology comes with its own special brand of hypocritical transphobia as well. Radical feminists as well as feminist authours have agreed to a point that gender is nothing more than a social construct. That the idea of the gender binaries is completely a human made concept and one that must be destroyed. Which in part I agree with. Gender binaries and gender roles have been designed and policed within society to the point where they are oppressive to men and women. Where I diverge from traditional radical feminist thinking is that I understand the idea that gender can still be an intrinsic part of who you are. A transgender person can still feel they have been born in the wrong body and that their gender does not match the sex they were assigned at birth based on their genitalia even with the gender binaries and gender roles being a human made concept. The concept of gender exists and has been taught in society – therefore there must be deviations away from the mean. Even if the mean is taught. Natural diversity.
The concept of gender binaries is nothing more than the social division of men and women. In societies eyes, men equal individuals who have penises between their legs and women equal those who have vaginas between their legs. Not only does this statement confuse the term sex and gender but this division by society negates the existence of genderqueer, intersexed and transgender people. The concept of gender roles is the role that a person is expected to play in society based on what’s between their legs. These are both human made concepts designed for control. Yet your gender identity is still an intrinsic part of who you are and how you feel internally. A transgender individuals sex (based on their genitalia) and their gender do not match.
In more simple terms (Liv, 2004):
The first component of human identity is biological sex. Everyone is assigned a biological sex at birth based on an examination of the visible genitalia. When sex is not easily assigned, the person is referred to as intersexed.
Gender identity is defined as the internal experience of gender, how one experiences their own sense of self as a gendered being. Gender itself is a social construct that divides people into categories of men and women based on ones sex as assigned at birth. For most people their gender identity is congruent with their assigned sex. This means that if they are “male” they experience themselves as “men” and if they are “female” they experience themselves as “women”. Transgender people are aware of the reality that their physical bodies do not feel that it describes who they really are inside.
A person’s self-concept of their gender regardless of biological sex is called gender identity. Gender and gender identity are learned at an interactional level, reified at the cultural level and institutionally enforced via family, law, religion, politics, medicine and the media. Therefore while the concept of gender and gender identity is human made, the incongruence that is felt by a transgender person is still very much real as their internal self does not align with their outside body.
Gender role expression:
Gender role expression is the expression of masculinity or femininity. Gender role is the socialised aspect of gender that is linked to appearance, behaviour and personality. This is not linked to a person’s sex assigned at birth. When a gender role is divergent from social expectations, the person is perceived as genderqueer, a crossdresser or a gender bender.
We all know what sexual orientation is but many don’t understand that it is not linked to our gender role expression or gender identity.
Like most cisgender individuals, radfems don’t understand how a transgender person can exist because they themselves aren’t transgender. Cisgendered people do not have a misalignment between their gender identity and their sex which is why it is so easy to disregard trans feelings as non-existent. It is because of this belief that gender is nothing more than a social construction rendering transgender people non-existent that radfem ideology is unsurprisingly transphobic. This results in beliefs (generally contrary to both what transpeople themselves have said about their own identities, and the medical consensus on gender dysphoria) that transwomen are nothing more than effeminate men who have been regulated by the patriarchy to the status of women or that they are male trying to invade “female only” spaces to harm them and transmen are just women trying to claim male privilege for themselves. This isn’t restricted to heterosexual transpeople, lesbian transwomen are often dismissed as men who only transitioned in order to infiltrate “female only” spaces to rape cisgender women.
Because thousands of dollars worth of surgery to alter your body is worth it if it means having sex with lesbians, right? (sarcasm)
Aside from the bigotry within the radfem community, by far the most damaging of the ideological mindset of a radfem is the belief that not only are men the cause of all problems (and therefore woman aren’t) but also that violence against women can only and has only ever been perpetrated by men (and if you’re Andrea Dworkins or this person, you believe that every man is a rapist and all forms of sex with men are rape).
I had this exchange with a radfem last night on Twitter:
Let me be the first to point out that denying that lesbians can rape and have raped women is not only fucking insane but incredibly damaging to women who have been sexually assaulted by women. As I’ve stated in the Twitter conversation, reframing the term “violence against women” to “male violence” renders any violence against women from anyone other than a male person, completely invisible. Domestic violence and the sexual assault of women by women is under reported as it is.
Radfem ideology damages women because it denies issues affecting women and by lashing out at men, alienating them and generalising them as all rapists and oppressors rather than educating them. It also further oppresses women because how are we meant to progress towards a cultural shift of equality when radfems are alienating our biggest allies? It’s a obvious danger to all trans* and intersexed people because it renders them non-existent.
Liv, A. (2004). Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working With Gender-Variant People and Their Families. Routledge.